(magnum opus - (n) a large and important work of art, music, or literature, especially one regarded as the most important work of an artist or writer.)
The 2021 classic, Red, was an album about breakups. Not a foreign concept coming from Taylor Swift, I know. But more than just breakups, it dealt with not getting over them. Not being able to get over them. A concept that, unless you're some tough guy, the luckiest person alive, or lying to yourself, we've all dealt with at some point in life.
It was big. It was raw. It was casually cruel. It was honest.
Haters will roll their eyes and continue their narrative that the songstress who writes her own songs, taught herself how to play an entire band's worth of instruments, and routinely clocks over 10 billion streams on new releases, is overrated or untalented. The joke must be on the other few billion of us.
Taylor herself has only gotten better since her 2012 release. She's more polished and seasoned, as her Folklore, and Evermore releases proved.
The Red (Taylor's Version) re-release features the original 16 tracks, all re-recorded, and a bonus of 14 additional songs.
The likes of Chris Stapleton, Phoebe Bridgers and Ed Sheeran make guest appearances on the project.
Ever since Swift announced she was dropping Red (Taylor’s Version), remaking her 2012 classic, anticipation has run high. For good reason. It's the best work of her career, featuring her best song, and she somehow raised the bar with this re-release.
A general first impression is that the more acoustically based records are far easier to replicate without producer Nathan Chapman than her very first forays into electro-pop are without Max Martin, obvlously.
But she was able to round up nearly all the original producers, except for those two — Dan Wilson, Jacknife Lee, Butch Walker and even Martin’s longtime partner, Shellback, did his part on three songs.
Swift’s go-to co-producer on the remakes, producer Christopher Wray, who fills in for both Chapman and Martin, definitely nailed the production work on this. The songs sound fuller, cleaner, without taking away from the original versions. They're not so much different, at all, just "better."
“Red (Taylor’s Version)” has nine previously unrecorded songs that appear at the end of the original album (plus O.G. bonus cuts like “Ronan”). You can narrow that down to six, if you want to just to consider songs that have never been heard in any form before, because “Better Man” and “Babe” were later given by Swift to Little Big Town and Sugarland, to become enormous country hits, and the new 10-minute version of “All Too Well” previously existed in five-and-a-half-minute form, of course.
Little Big Town’s hit cover of a few years back is an absolute banger. Both versions. Taylor is a gem for giving this one up.
The trumpets, saxes and flutes that kick in late into this version elevate the track into something that swings a lot more than the hit country cover by Sugarland did. This version is a ten.
“Message in a Bottle”
No clue how this got left off “Red”? This was a Max Martin/Shellback co-write/co-production that somehow didn’t make the cut alongside their trio of tracks that did, and is a straight up banger.
“Nothing New” (featuring Phoebe Bridgers)
Man oh man is this a great song. Phoebe Bridgers said "she cried when she got the call from Taylor to record this" and that she had been waiting her whole life that call.
“I Bet You Think About Me” (featuring Chris Stapleton)
The best new track we've heard from Swift. In years. No surprise that Chris Stapleton played a large part in that being the case, but this songs another jam. It's a female "Friends In Low Places". Taylor sings about not fitting in among the new elite crowd she'd been introduced to (2012) and her deep country roots.
The standout track is of course the new 10-minute version of "All Too Well". Keegs already beat me to posting about it so I won't go on and on about it. Though I easily could.
It's filled with an extra 6 minutes and a whole lot of new verses.
Among the standout new lines: Swift implies that her ex (Gyllenhaal) stood her up on her 21st birthday ("You, who charmed my dad with self-effacing jokes/ Sipping coffee like you were on a late night show/ But then he watched me watch the front door all night, willing you to come/ And he said, 'It’s supposed to be fun…turning 21'").
The new lyrics often provide more questions than answers (Who was the actress who found Taylor weeping in a party bathroom? And who is the owner of the "Fuck the Patriarchy" keychain?), but as we know all too well, Taylor's fans love to unpack a good mystery.
There's also a short length movie dropping tonight at 7 eastern to accompany the song.
Here's everything that happened in music this week-
Including a brand new, updated playlist of all my "New New" tracks-
- Eight-plus months after we were gifted with the debut Silk Sonic single "Leave the Door Open," the duo's first album -- An Evening With Silk Sonic -- has arrived.
The nine-track project, guest-hosted by funk legend Bootsy Collins, includes the two-week Billboard Hot 100 No. 1 hit "Leave the Door Open," as well as the previously released "Skate" and "Smokin Out the Window."
Silk Sonic is made up of solo stars Bruno Mars and Anderson .Paak, who met while touring together in Europe in 2017 on Mars' 24K Magic World Tour.
- A reunited ABBA drops its first album of new material in almost forty years.
Early Friday (Nov. 5), the Swedish pop superstars' new album Voyage docked, ending a decades-long drought that has been described as the “greatest reunion in pop,” without so much as a whiff of hyperbole.
- Taylor Swift will be tomorrow night's Saturday Night Live musical guest
- With just 10 days to go before Adele drops her anticipated fourth album, 30, one of the tracks from the collection made its debut in a new holiday ad from Amazon on Sunday. The spot features the swelling ballad "Hold On" playing in the background as the soundtrack to a story of a lonely college student whose day is brightened when a neighbor lights up her holiday season with a thoughtful gift.
The track featuring a marching band-style snare drum counterpoint to a warm piano base, finds Adele lamenting the struggle to stay positive amidst challenges. "Right now I truly hate being me/ Every day feels like the road I'm on/ Might just open up and swallow me whole," Adele croons as a voiceover describes the rise in cases of anxiety among young adults caused by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
- New Dijon, “The Dress”
- New Charlotte Adigéry & Bolis Pupul, “Blenda”
- Former Fifth Harmony member Lauren Jauregui released her debut album Prelude
- Camila Cabello is gearing up to release her third solo studio album, Familia, but is treating fans to a fun surprise while waiting for the record's release. "Don't Go Yet" -- Cabello's lead single from Familia -- is now featured on Just Dance 2022
- Lorde dropped the deluxe version of her Solar Power album on Friday (Nov. 5), sharing two bonus tracks with fans that were not initially available on streaming services. The sedate "Hold No Grudge" and airy "Helen of Troy" were described the singer in a newsletter to fans as the "black sheep" of her third project, tracks that were "fun explorations on the album journey."
- New Grae, “Outta This World”
- New Charli XCX
Today I, the iconic global pop star Charli XCX, am releasing a visual for “New Shapes”; my track featuring my demonically talented friends Caroline Polachek and Christine and the Queens. The “New Shapes” visual is the first performance from my new talk show, TV Heaven, which will only be available to stream in full once you cross over to the afterlife.
- Bay Street Records is proud to announce the new single from GRAMMY Award-winning singer-songwriter Joss Stone. “Never Forget My Love”
Produced by Bay Street Records founder, award-winning musician, songwriter, producer, innovator, and Eurythmics co-founder Dave Stewart, and co-written by Stewart and Stone, “Never Forget My Love” is the title track from Stone’s new album, due early 2022. The duo wrote every song for the new record on acoustic guitar at Bay Street Studios in the Bahamas and then recorded all the tracks at Nashville’s famed Blackbird Studio. The project marks Stone’s first full-length LP in more than five years as well as her first new music with Stewart in over a decade. As on their previous collaboration, 2011’s critically acclaimed LP1, backing comes from a top tier band of session all-stars including drummer Chad Cromwell, bassist Michael Rhodes, and guitarist Tom Bukovac.
- HBO dropped the first trailer for the upcoming Alanis Morissette documentary Jagged on Tuesday (Nov. 9), offering a glimpse at the singer's unlikely, determined rise to fame in the 1990s. "People would say, 'Wow, you're so brave, you're so empowered,'" the singer says in the opening frames of the two-minute teaser. "I can't write all these songs without obviously having been disempowered."
The movie is slated to drop on HBO Max on Nov. 18
- British vocalist and former UB40 member Terence Wilson, better known by his stage name Astro, has died following a short illness. He was 64.
- In the thick of the pop-punk revival, Avril Lavigne released her newest single "Bite Me" on Wednesday (Nov. 10) -- her first since signing to Travis Barker's DTA Records.
"I’m so f---ing excited to be releasing new music," the 37-year-old wrote on Instagram. "I had so much fun making this record. This is just a taste of what’s to come."
The guitar- and drum-heavy track features Lavigne raging at her former lover for failing to treat her properly, promising that they'll always regret being kicked out of her life.
- New Flight Facilities and Your Smith, “Heavy”
- New Swim Deep feat. Phoebe Green, “On the Floor”
- LA-based singer/songwriter Royal & the Serpent channels The Joker in the evocative video for “IM NOT SORRY,” out today via Atlantic Records. Watch the video, directed by Naserin Bogado, HERE! “IM NOT SORRY” follows Royal’s “CHIPS,” an emotional song about intimacy and friendship, featuring her friend/collaborator American Teeth.
- Kid Cudi is shedding light on A Man Named Scott in his new Amazon Prime Video documentary.
The Robert Alexander-directed film will explore the creative choices that went into Cudi's albums, including those outside the Man on the Moon trilogy, along with the personal struggles that affected his life throughout the process. The preview trailer features clips and dialogue from Cudi about his philosophy as an artist, from fans about his music's impact on their lives, and thoughts from his closest collaborators about Cudi's artistry.
- Lil Wayne fans, rejoice: It seems another one of Mr. Carter's projects will be making its way to streaming platforms in the coming months.
"Spoiler alert," Wayne manager Mack Maine tells Billboard. "We have [a mixtape] coming, probably in January."
Although the manager and Young Money Entertainment president kept the project's name a secret, he did reveal that Wayne's team was able to clear every song on the mystery mixtape's track list, something that has proven difficult in the past, considering the hitmaking rapper's love of samples.
- At the stroke of midnight, Beyonce shared "Be Alive," her first release of 2021.
“Be Alive” is lifted from Warner Bros’ King Richard, an inspirational film that explores the story of tennis legends the Williams sisters and their father Richard Williams.
- Late rapper Juice WRLD talks about overcoming mental health struggles on the emotional "Already Dead" single from the upcoming posthumous Fighting Demons album. "You are not your struggles. Addiction, anxiety, depression do not define you," reads the title card on a 43-second preview of the song posted on Thursday
- New SNOW! "Blaming Me For Us"
- New IV4 feat. Jeremih, "Stroke"
- New Omar Apollo feat. Kali Uchis, “Bad Life"
- New Rakeem Miles feat. Waka Flocka, “It Is What It Is”
- ICY season is upon us and rap star Saweetie lends a teaser of what's forthcoming with the release of "Get It Girl." It’s the debut single featured on Raedio, Atlantic Records and HBO forthcoming INSECURE: Music From the HBO Original Series, Season 5. Along with the release of "Get It Girl," which is placed in Beats By Dre' Beats Fit Pro Headphones' commercial already, Saweetie will hit the world-renowned Saturday Night Live stage on November 20th. INSECURE: Music From the HBO Original Series, Season 5 is scheduled for release on December 3rd and will feature new records from a diverse array of major artists and rising stars. The soundtrack is guaranteed to elevate the bar for music culture as the hit series prepares for its highly anticipated conclusion.
- Brooklyn Rap Royalty, ¼ of Slaughterhouse, Joell Ortiz, returns with his deepest and most personal solo-album to date with Autograph.
Autograph includes appearances and production from Sheek Louch, CyHi The Prynce, KXNG Crooked, Salaam Remi, Apollo Brown, The Heatmakerz and Namir Blade among others.
- GRAMMY-nominated, chart-topping house artist Chris Lake collaborates with NPC on the ambitious single “A Drug From God.” Lake creates an ominous, futuristic soundscape that escalates to spine-tingling heights as the distinctive vocals of NPC extend a thought-provoking invitation:
Money, Power, Beauty, Fame
Choose your weapon to beat the game
Money is power and art is fraud
And love is just a drug from God
NPC is a new AI girl group from Grimes, who continues to hone the concepts of her recent albums, Art Angels, which charted at No. 1 on Billboard’s Top Alternative Albums tally, and Miss Anthropocene, which Rolling Stone hailed as “a work of ambition.” Her 2012 album, Visions, was named as one of “The 500 Greatest Albums of All Time” by NME and won the Electronic Album of the Year Award at the Junos in her native Canada.
- The list of why Martin Garrix’s appearance at Ultra 2016 is tabbed as iconic goes on and on, but there’s a sole takeaway that’s remained more pertinent than ever throughout 2021: the birth of AREA21. Garrix and Maejor’s extraterrestrial alias had kept to itself for nearly two years following its last musical transmission, but in the fall of 2020, the former disclosed that the reasoning behind the duo’s silence wasn’t in vein, it was because a full-length album had been in the making. Six previews later and the time has ultimately come to retire one of Dancing Astronaut‘s most-anticipated projects of 2021, with AREA21 making its final descent toward Earth to deliver Greatest Hits Vol. 1 via STMPD RCRDS and Disney’s Hollywood Records.
- One could almost say that DubVision joining Rave Culture comes as somewhat of a surprise, but the Dutch brothers aren’t strangers to the bigroom and electro-slanting lane of house music by any stretch of the imagination. Shifting gears from their recurring rounds through STMPD RCRDS, DubVision have been recruited by a fellow legendary Dutch duo in W&W for the delivery of “No More,” marking a titanic tenth appearance in 2021 alone (not counting their elusive “Lifetime” bootleg).
- Closing its doors back in 2016, one of the world’s most lauded nightclubs and dance venues has finally started to show signs of re-emergence. Space Ibiza owner Pepe Roselló made headlines earlier this month with the announcement that he will open Space Sun Beach, a musical restaurant and bar in Ses Variades region of Sant Antoni.
Now, Ibizan locals and tourists have spotted a Space billboard on the side of the Hard Rock Hotel in Playa D’en Bossa, indicating the return is “coming soon.” While exciting, it remains unclear whether or not this billboard marks the same Space return as the expected summer 2022 opening of Roselló’s Space Sun Beach.
- As Gorgon City made the final turn on their last lap of Olympia tour stops in the U.S., they decided it was only fitting that they renewed their junior album. With only two dates remaining at Los Angeles’ The Shrine and Brooklyn’s Avant Gardner, Gorgon City gave new life to their four-month-old LP by tapping in a grand total of 12 different remixers—some new and some old—for a formal remix package of Olympia.
- It’s truly Martin Garrix season. In between his looming AREA21 album and collaborative teasers alongside both Kygo and Zedd, the STMPD RCRDS boss has another sliver of new music to present to the masses. When Garrix rang in his 25th birthday with his EURO 2020 anthem alongside Bono and The Edge, he had revealed in an interview that “We Are The People” was not the lone musical product of his studio sessions with U2. Similarly to Alesso’s Blade Runner: Black Lotus soundtrack inclusion, Garrix can now add scoring a movie onto his lengthy resume, appearing on the credits for U2’s new single from the upcoming Sing 2 soundtrack.
- The 2021 CMA's were Wednesday night. Here is an entire recap of the event
- New track from Locash featuring a classic Beach Boys sample. This song is going to be a radio SMASH.
LOCASH, “Beach Boys”
This track, which leads the duo’s newly-released five-track EP Woods & Water, interpolates The Beach Boys’ 1964 classic “I Get Around,” incorporating it into a song that sonically falls in line with the current output at country radio. But instead of singing the praises of a cool car, they’ve got an urge to “take the country to the beach, boys,” trading “Jack D” for Jose Cuervo, and swapping Tennessee for laid-back beaches.
We actually interviewed the guys on "On The Guest List" this week. If you haven' subscribed, liked, and listened to our music podcast what the hell are you waiting for?
(We also recorded a Barstool Backstage segment with the guys last night from their album release party in Tampa Bay…coming soon)
- New Blake Shelton, “We Can Reach The Stars”
- New Deana Carter, "Strawberry Wine" (2021 Version)
- New Thomas Rhett, "Slow Down Summer"
- New Blanco Brown - Funky Tonk
- New Gabby Barrett, "Pick Me Up"
- New Randall King, “You in a Honky Tonk”
- On Sunday, Paramount gave Yellowstone fans a first look at the upcoming prequel series 1883, which will feature Tim McGraw and Faith Hill as James and Margaret Dutton, the patriarch and matriarch of the Dutton family.